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Review

Hibernation as a Tool for Radiation Protection in Space Exploration

1
GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung GmbH, 64295 Darmstadt, Germany
2
Heavy Ion Medical Center, Gunma University, Maebashi, Gunma 371-8511, Japan
3
Department of Biomedical and NeuroMotor Sciences, University of Bologna, 40126 Bologna, Italy
4
Istituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare (INFN)–Sezione di Bologna, 40126 Bologna, Italy
5
Department of Pharmacology, Gunma University Graduate School of Medicine, Maebashi, Gunma 371-8511, Japan
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Life 2021, 11(1), 54; https://doi.org/10.3390/life11010054
Received: 29 October 2020 / Revised: 29 December 2020 / Accepted: 11 January 2021 / Published: 14 January 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Radiobiology in Space)
With new and advanced technology, human exploration has reached outside of the Earth’s boundaries. There are plans for reaching Mars and the satellites of Jupiter and Saturn, and even to build a permanent base on the Moon. However, human beings have evolved on Earth with levels of gravity and radiation that are very different from those that we have to face in space. These issues seem to pose a significant limitation on exploration. Although there are plausible solutions for problems related to the lack of gravity, it is still unclear how to address the radiation problem. Several solutions have been proposed, such as passive or active shielding or the use of specific drugs that could reduce the effects of radiation. Recently, a method that reproduces a mechanism similar to hibernation or torpor, known as synthetic torpor, has started to become possible. Several studies show that hibernators are resistant to acute high-dose-rate radiation exposure. However, the underlying mechanism of how this occurs remains unclear, and further investigation is needed. Whether synthetic hibernation will also protect from the deleterious effects of chronic low-dose-rate radiation exposure is currently unknown. Hibernators can modulate their neuronal firing, adjust their cardiovascular function, regulate their body temperature, preserve their muscles during prolonged inactivity, regulate their immune system, and most importantly, increase their radioresistance during the inactive period. According to recent studies, synthetic hibernation, just like natural hibernation, could mitigate radiation-induced toxicity. In this review, we see what artificial hibernation is and how it could help the next generation of astronauts in future interplanetary missions. View Full-Text
Keywords: hibernation; torpor; space; radiation protection; genomic instability; brain function; cardiovascular function; immune function hibernation; torpor; space; radiation protection; genomic instability; brain function; cardiovascular function; immune function
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MDPI and ACS Style

Puspitasari, A.; Cerri, M.; Takahashi, A.; Yoshida, Y.; Hanamura, K.; Tinganelli, W. Hibernation as a Tool for Radiation Protection in Space Exploration. Life 2021, 11, 54. https://doi.org/10.3390/life11010054

AMA Style

Puspitasari A, Cerri M, Takahashi A, Yoshida Y, Hanamura K, Tinganelli W. Hibernation as a Tool for Radiation Protection in Space Exploration. Life. 2021; 11(1):54. https://doi.org/10.3390/life11010054

Chicago/Turabian Style

Puspitasari, Anggraeini, Matteo Cerri, Akihisa Takahashi, Yukari Yoshida, Kenji Hanamura, and Walter Tinganelli. 2021. "Hibernation as a Tool for Radiation Protection in Space Exploration" Life 11, no. 1: 54. https://doi.org/10.3390/life11010054

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